New OPHI research shows overall poverty reduction in 16 Latin American countries

Uruguay, Argentina and Chile have the lowest rates of multidimensional poverty among 17 countries in the Latin American region, a new OPHI working paper has found.

The paper has proposed a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) for the Latin American region,  composed of thirteen indicators grouped into five dimensions: housing, basic services, living standards, education, and employment and social protection. The authors estimated poverty for 17 countries at two points in time, one around 2005 and the other around 2012.

The findings show great variability of poverty across countries in the region. The researchers found that poverty is highest in three Central American countries – Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua – where 7 in 10 people are multidimensionally poor. In contrast, the proportion in Uruguay, Argentina and Chile is 1 in 10. Overall,  28% of people in the Latin American region are estimated to live in multidimensional poverty.

Encouragingly, there was a statistically significant reduction in poverty between 2005 and 2012 in all countries except for El Salvador, with decreases in both incidence and intensity of poverty. Among the components of the MPI, living standards, led by income deprivation, emerged as a significant contributor to overall poverty, accounting – on average – for 30% of total poverty.

Read the full paper

‘A Multidimensional Poverty Index for Latin America’, by Maria Emma Santos, Pablo Villatoro, Xavier Mancero and Pascual Gerstenfeld was published in the OPHI working paper series in January 2015.

The MPI for Latin America and the main findings of this paper have been included in Chapter 1 of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean’s Social Panorama of Latin America 2014.

Find out more about OPHI’s Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) findings for countries in Latin America

Download individual country briefings for Latin American countries to see national and sub-national poverty profiles.

View graphs and maps for different poverty indicators at OPHI’s interactive databank.